80-year-old survived tornado, but not immediate aftermath

Monday, May 19th 2008, 12:29 pm
By: News 9

Associated Press

PICHER, Okla. -- When a tornado roared through Picher on May 10, 80-year-old Chizuri Cox survived the initial storm. It was the mayhem following the storm that Cox's daughter says cost the former military wife her life.

Cox's daughter, Naomi Smith of Stigler, says her mother was born in Japan and had lived in Picher for the past 15 years.

Smith says Cox's health had declined and described her as, quote, "pretty much bedfast." Smith says the electricity that powered her mother's oxygen tank went off during the tornado, causing Cox to suffer breathing difficulties.

Soon after the storm, some of Cox's family members arrived to check on her welfare. Smith says they found Cox still alive, but that not long after, an emergency rescuer couldn't find Cox's pulse.

Smith says Cox had CPR performed upon her on the way to a hospital but that the storm's stress proved too much for her mother.

Six other people died as the result of the EF-4 tornado, which struck the small former lead and zinc mining town in far northeastern Oklahoma.